This talk was recorded
at the Institute for Critical Animal Studies Oceania 2016 Conference in Canberra.
You can find out more information about this conference here: http://www.criticalanimalstudies.org/oceania-conference/
You can listen to other
talks from this conference here.
You can also listen to a recap of the conference
on episode 152 of
Progressive Podcast Australia.
Below is further information
about the talk from the conference booklet, available here: http://www.criticalanimalstudies.org/booklet/
In the Prison House of Reason: From Pain Management to Total Liberation
TEYA BROOKS PRIBAC
So-called reason had, in Western discourse, long been considered separate from and
qualitatively superior to emotions. This shibboleth has been debunked scientifically, and
increasingly also philosophically. We now know that emotion plays a positive role in
normative functioning and significantly influences the reasoning process regardless of how hard one tries to ‘detach’ oneself from the object under examination. Nevertheless,
derogating ‘emotion’ in the name of ‘reason’ remains a powerful propagandistic tool when the weight of evidence alone is insufficient to defend a position – a tool, for example, that is used regularly in attempts to justify nonhuman animal (ab)use for human financial or other gains. In reference to ‘farm’ animals, the Productivity Commission’s draft report (July 2016) on the regulation of Australian agriculture, for example, warns that ‘there is a risk that
unnecessary regulations will be imposed on farmers based on emotive reactions rather than evidence,’ implying an objectivity at the base of the report that the report itself does not, and cannot, deliver. To begin with, as far as welfare is concerned, the classification of some
animals as ‘farmable’ subjects is ideological/emotional in nature and has no objective base in science. Such flawed foundations lead to the unscientific discrepancy in the levels of
protection that equally sentient species (e.g. pig vs dog) are offered. This ideological
conundrum further informs scientists’ research design, resulting in the ‘hierarchical scandal’ that primatologist Thelma Rowell talks about; namely, ‘farm’ animals have largely been
studied for the purposes of increasing profit, and the ‘evidence’ and welfare reports reflect this narrow focus and flawed methodology. This paper explores the growing scientific
understanding of the bio-psycho-social forces at work in the formation of animals’ own
realities, which supports nonhuman animal liberation and can aid
advocacy of such.
Teya Brooks Pribac is a vegan and animal advocate, working between
Australia and Europe. She’s currently a doctoral candidate at the University of Sydney researching animal grief. She lives in the Blue Mountains of New South Wales with other animals.
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